Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again
Last weekend while at a friend’s house for a summer gathering, I heard a slight thump and realised a bird had flown into a window. I paid it little attention and carried on with the conversation. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a fluttering movement on the ground and realised that the impact had been greater than I had originally thought.
Groaning inwardly at what I might find (and what might then need to be done) I approached with caution. It was a young blue tit in a tangle and it didn’t look too happy. I picked it up and immediately it latched on to my fingers. This was a promising sign and I was hopeful that it was merely stunned rather than mortally wounded. It sat quietly on my hand and I admired the tiny filaments in its feathers while gradually its eyes brightened and it became more and more alert. After a few minutes, and wanting to get back to my glass of wine, I tried to encourage it to move to a bush but it clung to me tenaciously. It wasn’t going to let go until it was good and ready. And when it was, it just flew off as if nothing had happened.
Now I know that in the wild a blue tit’s chances of making it to adulthood are fairly small but it was a pleasure to help in that particular situation. And at the risk of seeming trite, but making no apology, I am going use this little adventure as a metaphor.
During our lifetime it is unlikely that we will avoid hitting the occasional ‘brick wall’. This may come in the form of a redundancy, a relationship breakdown, a period of stress or trauma, or sometimes just finding ourselves lacking in direction and feeling unsure of the next step. Whatever it might be we are often knocked back by the experience. But it’s what we do next that matters.
Sometimes we have enough resilience and internal resources to get straight back up and get on with it. Other times we might feel a bit discombobulated (as my husband would say) and need to have some time out before we decide what to do next. Occasionally we will need to allow a longer period for physical, emotional or psychological recovery.
More rarely, but not that unusually, we can be knocked sideways by something that happens to us. We can’t think straight, we can’t work out what to do; we feel helpless and vulnerable. If this goes on for too long it can be difficult to get back into the flow and we can lose confidence or even become depressed. That is the time when we might need a helping hand, someone who can give us the time and space to sort ourselves out, gather ourselves together and get back out there.
So today I have a few simple messages inspired by an encounter with a small garden bird: If you are flying high, enjoy every moment. If you are learning something, don’t give up at the first apparent failure – try again. If you hurt yourself badly then allow some time to heal. If your feelings of pain, confusion, helplessness or inertia go on for too long, don’t let them get entrenched – let someone else help you get yourself flying again.